|Orthodox Outlet for Dogmatic Enquiries
The bothersome word “simultaneously” and the resurrection
What on earth is the Watchtower organization going to do, with all those annoying little words that appear in the original text of the Holy Bible?
Those little words that persistently ruin their sport of concocting dogmas, by proving them to be in the wrong every time!
So, what is Watchtower going to do with those little words? What little words? They don’t exist!
BECAUSE THE WATCHTOWER HAS NATURALLY ELIMINATED THEM FROM THEIR ‘NEW WORLD TRANSLATION’!
Thessalonians I, 4: 15-17
Ancient Greek Text
Greek Watchtower’s N.W.T.
Τούτο γαρ υμίν λέγομεν εν λόγω Κυρίου: ότι ημείς οι ζώντες οι περιλειπόμενοι εις την παρουσίαν τού Κυρίου, ου μη φθάσωμεν τους κεκοιμηθέντας. Ότι αυτός ο Κύριος εν κελεύσματι, εν φωνή αρχαγγέλου και εν σάλπιγγι Θεού, καταβήσεται απ' ουρανού, και οι νεκροί εν Χριστώ αναστήσονται πρώτον. Έπειτα ημείς οι ζώντες οι περιλειπόμενοι, άμα συν αυτοίς αρπαγησόμεθα εν νεφέλαις εις απάντησιν τού Κυρίου εις αέρα. Και ούτως πάντοτε συν Κυρίω εσόμεθα.
Διότι αυτό σας λέμε μέσω τού λόγου τού Ιεχωβά: ότι εμείς οι ζωντανοί που απομένουμε μέχρι την παρουσία τού Κυρίου δεν θα προηγηθούμε από εκείνους οι οποίοι έχουν κοιμηθεί τον ύπνο τού θανάτου. επειδή ο ίδιος ο Κύριος θα κατεβεί από τον ουρανό με πρόσταγμα, με φωνή αρχαγγέλου και με σάλπιγγα Θεού, και εκείνοι που είναι νεκροί σε ενότητα με τον Χριστό θα αναστηθούν πρώτοι. Ύστερα, εμείς οι ζωντανοί που απομένουμε θα αρπαχθούμε μέσα σε σύννεφα …….. μαζί με αυτούς για να συναντήσουμε τον Κύριο στον αέρα. και έτσι θα είμαστε πάντοτε με τον Κύριο.
For if our faith is that Jesus died and rose again, so, too, those who have fallen asleep [in death] through Jesus God will bring with him. For this is what we tell you by Jehovah's word, that we the living who survive to the presence of the Lord shall in no way precede those who have fallen asleep [in death]; because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel's voice and with God' s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first. Afterward we the living who are surviving will, …….. together with them, be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord.
We won’t even bother to refer to the arbitrary replacement of the word “Lord” with the word “Jehovah” here, given that this word is not witnessed by any ancient text whatsoever. Nor shall we analyze the addition of the words “the sleep of death”, which can only be characterized as an interpretation and not a translation. Our subject here is a different one.
In the above two passages, we note the Watchtower’s obvious perversion. The (Greek) word “άμα” which means “simultaneously” (at the same time) is missing from the Watchtower Translation. So, why did the Watchtower spirit away this little word?
One of the basic teachings of the Watchtower is that, after the Second Coming of Christ (which according to them took place in 1914), the ‘first resurrection’ of the saints commenced. Again according to the Watchtower, this took place in 1918, when the 144.000 saints began to be resurrected with new, angelic bodies, for their celestial life (Watchtower, 1-10-1986, page 4). They also claim that the remaining saints –from 1918 onwards- will become spiritual beings instantly, as they die one by one, and that this will continue, up until God’s final intervention on humanity’s course. (Corinthians I, 15: 51,52. and Thessalonians I, 4: 15-17).
But the verse that we mentioned above, says something else!! Especially that little word “άμα”, which proves this entire Watchtower theory false.
It is false, because the passage says that IN THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST, when the ‘sleeping’ saints are resurrected, THEY SHALL BE SWEPT UP SIMULTANEOUSLY, TOGETHER WITH THE REMAINING, LIVING SAINTS by the Lord, so that they will be forever with Him.
But wait a moment! We all know that no living saint was swept up to the heavens in 1918! So, how could the resurrection have taken place? Obviously, nothing of the sort happened, and everything is in the imagination of the Watchtower leadership. Like it or not, the little word “άμα” (=at the same time) is very significant. That is why the Watchtower had to eliminate it! So, they quite unreservedly removed it from their New World Translation, not only in other languages, but also dared to remove it from their Greek edition, confident of the ignorance of their followers.
That little word was a true catapult! Not only does it annul the Watchtower dogma on the resurrection, but also the dogma on the alleged presence of Christ in 1914. Quite simply, if the events described here are going to take place during Christ’s presence, and in the years 1914 and 1918 the Rapture of living saints DID NOT OCCUR, then we can safely claim that neither the resurrection took place, nor the presence of Christ.
Someone might ask: “But how can you accuse the Watchtower of fraud, if the (Greek) Orthodox translator Vamvas has also omitted the word “άμα” in his translation?”
The situation in this case is different, for two important reasons:
The first reason is that Vamvas translated the Holy Bible without this translation ever being acknowledged by the Orthodox Church. It is for this reason that the Church continues to this day to use the ancient text: the Church knows that no translation is correct. On the contrary, the NWT is declared the official translation of the Watchtower organization, and is used in their meetings.
The second reason is that Vamvas – being Orthodox – had no reason to purposely eliminate the word “άμα”, given that the Christian Church believes in the SIMULTANEOUS RAPTURE of the living and the deceased faithful during the coming of Christ and the resurrection. Consequently, there is no reason for an Orthodox to purposely make such a mistake. Furthermore, this text is never used by the Church for worship or for serious study; in fact, this comprises actual evidence of the reason that Vamvas made this mistake: Given that he already had the correct (Orthodox) viewpoint on the subject, it was impossible for him to imagine that one day, a heresy would appear, that would believe the resurrection was to take place in “doses”, hence, he deemed the word “άμα” to be a redundancy. God however knew what the future held, so He ensured that this little word ALSO be included in the Holy Bible, so that those who would believe in such cacodoxies in our time would be inexcusable, and also so that their malicious intentions would be revealed, on their act of eliminating this word.
“And how do you know that the Watchtower did this on purpose? That little word may have escaped their attention.” (someone well-meaning might insist).
Even if this is the case, the Watchtower’s deliberate act still becomes evident! God has a way of ‘blinding’ the wicked so that they fall into making such mistakes and exposing themselves to all those who want to see the truth. Let’s take a look at the evidence of the Watchtower translators’ deceitfulness:
There is a book published by Watchtower, titled: "The Kingdom Interlinear (=between the lines) Translation of the Greek Scriptures".
It contains the original text of the New Testament in ancient Greek, and below each word (between the lines) there is a word-for-word translation of it, in English. In the column on the right, is the New World Translation in English, so that the reader can compare it to the original text!
It is curious, how all other Watchtower books circulate in millions of copies, yet this book has only a limited number in circulation, despite its importance. For example, the 1985 edition that we have in hand has inscribed in it that it circulated in 800.000 copies. But, it is characteristic, how most “Jehovah’s Witnesses” are totally unaware of this book’s existence. So, why such a limited circulation?
One first reason for the limited circulation of this book is that basically, the followers of the organization are asked to NOT EXAMINE THINGS IN DEPTH, but to blindly accept whatever the organization says (in other words, “believe and do not inquire”). A book like that, in broader circulation, would therefore have incited many “Witnesses” to examine the ancient text in more depth, which would enable them to uncover the organization’s deceptive translation. So, that is why the book was published in very few copies.
Now of course you will say: “Well, why did the book circulate at all, even in such a few copies?”
Well, there was a reason for this too. And the reason was to impress. The organization had to impress its followers that the New World Translation is a valid and correct one. Even more so, when the rest of the world (who was aware of the Watchtower’s methods) kept telling “Witnesses” that their translation was distorted. Thus, in order to create an impression on its members, the organization proceeded with this edition, in order to show that it was not afraid of comparison. So, it inserted in one column the NWT and in the other column the ancient Greek text, with a word-for-word, between-the-lines English translation, underneath every Greek word, for comparison. The Watchtower purposely published a very limited number of copies, because it knows that very few of its followers tend to go into serious research or doubting. This book was therefore made especially for those few, in order to “pull the wool over their eyes”. When (Greek) followers do not know the Greek language properly, and especially ancient Greek, it is extremely difficult for them to perceive the adulterations in the text that the Watchtower has dared. In Greece, this book circulated in extremely small numbers, because there are sufficient people in the country who would have perceived what was being done to the original text! I personally remember –while still in the organization and beginning to sense what was going on– how I used to look for the book in our meetings, and would secure quite a few copies whenever I found it. And see how it finally proved handy!
So, the living proof of the Watchtower’s deceit by eliminating the word “άμα” from the verse we are examining, appears on page 900 of their book:
We can see in the Greek text in the left-hand column, that the word “άμα” is in place, and even though the Watchtower HAS SEEN THE WORD AND HAS TRANSLATED IT underneath ("at the same time"), the NWT in the right-hand column the translation of the word has been omitted!
Well, they were obviously aware of the word’s presence, so, why did they omit it, in the adjoining New World Translation’s text?
The Watchtower translators had two options: Either leave the word in place, duly translated, and inform their followers of the truth, that the coming of Christ and the resurrection have NOT YET TAKEN PLACE, and hence all their dogmas that are based on this dogma are wrong, or, eliminate the word altogether and unrepentantly continue to mislead their followers. They naturally chose the second option, as they have always done.
As for the non-Greek followers of the Watchtower organization, we could say that their extenuating circumstance is the fact that they are not familiar with the Greek language. But its Greek followers have no excuse for continuing to be misled by such people, who show such irreverence to the text of the Holy Bible
We leave the decision to the individual Greek follower of the Watchtower sect, who will read this article…….
Text: Γ. Κ.
Translation by A. N.
Article published in English on: 12-9-2005.
Last update: 13-9-2005.